SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR – Will you report it?

by Corinne

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“We cannot wait for a calling card from a terrorist to announce a pending or future attack.  Our suspicion may turn out to be nothing, but if it is something significant, we cannot afford to lose that critical response time.”

Robert Mueller – FBI Director

The whole world reeled from the news that Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army doctor, was named as a suspect in the shooting death of 13 people and the wounding of 31 others at Fort Hood, Texas.  It later emerged he had tried to make contact with al-Qaeda before carrying out the massacre.

Intelligence officers are said to have known months ago about Hasan’s attempts to reach the terror network through the internet but decided to monitor him, hoping it would lead them to al-Qaeda operatives. It was thought Hasan might lead them to a “big fish” and there was no indication he was about to launch his own attack.

Communications, believed to be emails, were intercepted by US intelligence services. They were examined at the time but it was decided that they did not require following up.

But there were red flags for some time before.  His associates at Walter Reed Hospital, his last assignment, had serious suspicions about his being an Islamic extremist.

THEY DID NOT REPORT THEIR SUSPICIONS.

A few days later, I was watching a newscast about the horrible shooting tragedy.  They were interviewing an FBI agent.

The agent was discussing how people are afraid to come forward if they run into something that seems unusual to them.  They don’t want to get involved – even frightened that they would be accusing an innocent person needlessly.   So, they do nothing and that nothing could cost lives.

He added that they needed the millions of eyes and ears of ordinary people to do their job.

THAT IS YOU.

THAT IS ME.

A friend overheard two people talking in the men’s room of his office.  They were discussing if they could do research at the library on how to build a dirty bomb to avoid having to use their personal computers.

HE CALLED THE FBI.

The agent spent a lot of time asking him about himself.  Surprisingly, he wanted to know everything about him.  A whole history.  Very politely, but he was being vetted.  They wanted to make sure he was who he said he was.

Only then, he was asked for his story. The agent made very little comment about it.  My friend asked if it could be traced back to him as a source and they assured him it would not.  He wanted to know how they would follow up and he got no information.

The agent just said, “We have our ways.”

He also wanted to know if he would ever know what happened and they said no.  He would not be hearing back from them unless they needed him to follow up which was unlikely.

The only question they answered was when he asked if he was over reacting.  Was he right to call?

That answer was a definite YES.  We need people to report anything that seems suspicious.  And we do not reveal our sources.

So, I am asking you –

WOULD YOU HAVE CALLED?

WILL YOU?

Picture by massmarrier

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny
Twitter:
November 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Such a weird, strange and uncomfortable situation to find one’s self in. Here’s what I have to say and I will be blunt. I am a tattle-tale. I will tell in a heart-beat. Just like gangsters used to say in those old “film noir” movies, “I will sing like a canary.”

Moral of the story: don’t say weird shit around me.

I’ve learned the hard way that bullies like to keep things secret. As a matter of personal safety, I let the people around me know when something is off.

If you think about it, there are many ways to bring things to light without being found out. Works both ways, unfortunately. You can sink someone by inferring that something may be out of order about them.

Best thing to do is to (1) keep your eyes and ears open (2) trust your gut and (3) have an action plan. There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who act and those who don’t. Just know which kind you are and you’ll never regret your choice.
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Meet Marcelle! She’s Not Bad, She’s Just Drawn That Way =-.

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Shane December 1, 2009 at 11:10 am

Where as this is a good idea for people who overhear things, or have substantial evidence or doubt then yes, a notification to the proper authorities is a good idea. However, should baseless accusations be made on items out of context the damages done can be irreparable and can be felt on a wide scale. Yes the government agencies would like you to be the eyes and ears, and there is nothing wrong with that so long as it is handled responsibly.

What I am most afraid of though, is abuse of this. I will admit that the odds of a regular citizen having information on a terrorist(s) that the government does not already possess is probably slim to none though. What does strike me as odd is that agencies will ask us to be their eyes and ears, yet when their own eyes and ears are telling them that something isn’t right, things are not followed up. While I do realize that for this particular tragedy, no awareness of an attack was there, and it was supposed to be a baited hook, wouldn’t it have been better for actions to be made against one, then trying to wait it out and see what larger fish come forward?

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Corinne
Twitter:
December 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

Dear Cheryl -

These are important words!

‘Best thing to do is to (1) keep your eyes and ears open (2) trust your gut and (3) have an action plan. There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who act and those who don’t. Just know which kind you are and you’ll never regret your choice.”

We need more tattle tales like you.

You are just one of the two eyes and ears we have. Let’s spread the word.

I really appreciate your thoughtful and honest comment.

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Corinne
Twitter:
December 1, 2009 at 11:16 am

Dear Shane -

How true this comment of yours is -

“While I do realize that for this particular tragedy, no awareness of an attack was there, and it was supposed to be a baited hook, wouldn’t it have been better for actions to be made against one, then trying to wait it out and see what larger fish come forward?”

This so called “small fish” destroyed so many lives and dreams. It is heartbreaking.

One consolation in my story is how carefully the FBI agent qualified my friend. They know a nutbag when they run into one.

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Sharon Beck December 3, 2009 at 11:35 am

I wish I had wise words to say about things like this happening in our world. I no longer own a Television set and I don’t read the newspapers so I don’t even know what happened but I can’t imagine anyone overhearing a plot to harm others without telling the authorities.

I think we have a responsibility to each other to do all we can to stay on the path of love and forgiveness. What sad things happened in his life to cause him to want to hurt others? What demons tortured him causing him to want to torture others? And will we use it as an excuse to find fault in him and not see that he is as much a Spiritual being as ourselves?

What part do we all play on this stage we call life? I know I want to play the part of the person that moves away from judgment and knows that we are all one and worthy of love and forgiveness, even him…even Ben Ladin…even Hitler.

Sharon
.-= Sharon Beck´s last blog ..I found my missing post! =-.

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Sandi December 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

There were two other moments in history where citizens were supposed to report suspicious behavior. One was during the “Red Scare” which resulted in the McCarthy Hearings, the other resulted in the Salem Witch Trials.

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Corinne
Twitter:
December 4, 2009 at 11:17 am

Sandi, I completely agree with you. Those instances were a disgrace to this country.

Please God, never let things like that happen again.

But since we lost 3000 plus people on 9/11, I don’t think we can take the same chances as before.

I once got to know a lot of FBI agents. When I sold real estate in New York, I sold the Chief of the area a house – and then 14 of his men.

What impressed me about them was -

1. You would never guess what they did. They must pick them on the basis of how ordinary they looked. Not one looked like a cop.

2. And most important, was how smart they were. They were MBA’s, accountants, lawyers and I assume extremely well trained.

I really feel they would spot an person who was settling a grudge or a crazy in a few minutes.

My friend was impressed how carefully they interviewed HIM. He did not mind. He had nothing to hide but an old traffic ticket and they were not interested in that! (he asked!)

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Corinne
Twitter:
December 4, 2009 at 11:22 am

Dear Sharon -

This is amazing to me when you said -

“I wish I had wise words to say about things like this happening in our world. I no longer own a Television set and I don’t read the newspapers so I don’t even know what happened but I can’t imagine anyone overhearing a plot to harm others without telling the authorities.”

I know one of the advices Dr. Andrew Weil gives is to take a news break for at least a week to recover your peacefulness.

Then, he says, after that, never look at the news after 6 PM. It is disturbing to your sleep.

I wish I could follow your example. I am addicted to CNN.

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Michelle Vandepas December 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

I grew up in London in the 70′s…. The IRA was bombing London stores and our bags were routinely searched before going into any department store. As citizens we knew that bags left around could very well be bombs and you NEVER left a backpack or bag anywhere – not even for a second, as the bomb squad would be notified.
It took me a long time to get used to bags being left in corners and strewn around in airports and left as someone walks to a water fountain…. It just didn’t happen when I grew up. I’ve often told someone about left bags, and I also watch carefully when someone walks away and leaves a bag…. It’s in my nature… and yes I’d call 911. In fact I’ve been knows as the 911 queen – I’m always calling for traffic accidents, lost children, fainted people – I guess this stuff happens in front of me as the ‘powers at be’ know I wont’ hesitate to call. On average I call 911 once a month. Weird huh? I hope that I never have to call for a real bomb……. Anyone who’s traveled to high security countries will know this isn’t a game …… I don’t think it is living in fear – rather it is living in the real life as it is presented to us now… terrorists and all.
.-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..Conscious Livelihood Coaching! =-.

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